Yorktown Heights Catholic School opens for some in-person learning

St. Patrick Elementary in Yorktown Heights is following a grade-based plan for re-opening.

News 12 Staff

Sep 8, 2020, 10:02 AM

Updated 1,350 days ago


One of Westchester's top private schools reopened Tuesday following the Archdiocese of New York's school reopening guidelines.        
Like most private Catholic schools in the state, St. Patrick's Elementary in Yorktown Heights is planning to bring some students back for in-person learning five days a week.
Officials say about 85% of students have decided to return to the classroom. The school is following a grade-based plan for reopening.
Parents in kindergarten through fifth grade can choose between all in-person, an alternating hybrid-model or fully remote.
Those in sixth through eighth grades will start hybrid and have the choice of all online.
The Castaldi family is choosing to send their two children - one in pre-K, the other in fourth grade - to school for the first time since the spring.
"I've talked to a lot of people here at the school, and I know they have a lot of good measures in place for safety,” says mother Jennifer Castaldi.
News 12 is told each student will have their temperature taken before entering the building, and everyone is required to wear a mask.
Every classroom is set up with 6 feet between desks, a sanitation station, and are getting cleaned throughout the day after after-school programs.
It's a big undertaking for the private school, but officials say they're prepared. 
"We're looking to make the situation as normal as possible, as safe as possible but as normal because our kids really need to be here on campus,” says St. Patrick Elementary School Principal Rebecca Steck.
Castaldi, who also works as a nurse, says her children tried virtual learning, but it was too challenging. "We did the virtual learning in the spring with these guys, and it was very hard. I think the younger kids really benefit from the in-person, teacher experience."
Over the summer, the archdiocese shut down 20 Catholic schools in New York, including four in southern Westchester, due to the ongoing pandemic.
School officials say enrollment is up this year not only because they took in kids from neighboring Catholic schools that closed over the summer, but because many public school parents wanted as much in-person learning as possible.

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